Fires break out north of Terrace

Two were reported today and two were reported yesterday

TWO forest fires broke out today close by Highway 37 North and are currently being assessed by the provincial fire service.

That makes four fires in the past 48 hours, two next to the Nass River and two near the Bell 2 Lodge, which is further north along Hwy37 North.

Yesterday’s fires are either mopped up or being patrolled, while today’s are currently being dealt with by a forest service 20-person unit crew.

Suzanne Pearce, fire information officer for the Northwest Fire Centre in Smithers, said that none “are threatening anything at this time.”

The four fires are person-caused, Pearce said, all of them from burning grass and/or woody debris piles.

There is a lot of industrial work going on in the area, including right of way clearing for B.C. Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line, and one or more of those operations may have caused the fires, though more specific sources are being investigated, she said.

A press release sent out today by the forest service has guidelines for operators doing open burning.

“If you are planning to do any large-scale industrial burning or conduct a grass burn over 0.2 hectares in size (Category 3 fires), you must obtain a burn registration number ahead of time by calling 1 888 797-1717.”

It also outlines strict penalties for not following these and other regulations including venting restrictions.

“If an outdoor burn escapes and causes a wildfire, the person responsible may be held accountable for damages and fire suppression costs,” reads the release.

The hot dry weather has contributed to the spread of seven fires in the northwest so far this season, though this isn’t too out of the ordinary according to Pearce. Nevertheless she said that “we want to alert people who are doing open burning to use a lot of caution.”

No fire ban has been issued by the province, so recreational fires are still permitted.